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Understanding Your Colposcopy Results

Understanding Your Colposcopy Results

During the process of colposcopy, a biopsy is usually obtained and sent to a pathologist.  This person views the cell samples microscopically and sends a diagnosis back to the doctor.  The results are usually: +HPV, CIN I, CIN II or CIN III.  CIN stands for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia which means new growth within the surface cells of the cervix. 

  • +HPV: This result indicates that the presence of HPV was noted but there had been no significant change in the cervical cells.

  • CIN I: Mild, changes are present on the most exterior surface of the cervix.  This type of cervical change will often heal on it’s own without the need for further treatment.  However, it is necessary to monitor the health of the cervix with more frequent pap smears about every 4 to 6 months.

  • CIN II: Moderate, changes are present in cells deeper in the cervical tissue.  This type of cervical change needs treatment and the woman should move on to a LEEP procedure.

  • CIN III: Severe, cellular changes are noted almost through the depth of the cervical tissue.  This type of cervical change is likely to progress into cancer without treatment and a LEEP procedure should follow.
  • Cancer: The entire length/depth of the cervix shows cellular changes.  The treatment consists of a hysterectomy, removal of the cervix and uterus.

It is important to remember that cervical cancer is rarely found in women that are vigilant about having a yearly exam and pap.  It is also rare for abnormal cervical cells to progress into cancer when it is properly treated.  It is very important to keep all your follow-up visits even after treatment.  

By Cyndi Ayoub, WHNP

posted 5/1/09

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